Do you dream of getting married in a place that is as beautiful as Hawaii? Do you want to go on an epic hiking adventure that will take your breath away? If you answered yes to both of these questions, then a Hawaiian elopement is the perfect choice for you! Not only will you be able to exchange vows in front of a stunning natural backdrop, but you will also have the opportunity to explore some of the most breathtaking hiking trails in the world. And what could be more romantic than saying “I do” in one of the most romantic places on earth? So if you are looking for an unforgettable way to start your married life together, consider a Hawaiian elopement. You won’t regret it!
Bryce and Mariah were not interested in having a traditional wedding. From the start of planning, they envisioned an intimate ceremony on the beach with their closest relatives. But they also loved the idea of doing an epic adventure shoot too. So, they decided on both!
These two were able to have the lovely beach ceremony they dreamed of! And the next day? Bryce and Mariah trekked up to Mauna Kea, the tallest mountain in the world from the seabed to summit on the Big Island of Hawaii! The elevation of Mauna Kea is nearly 14,000ft. The altitude can be pretty intense, especially for those who don’t show up prepared. We arrived at the visitor center (which is around 10,000 ft.) to acclimate for about an hour and take in lots of fluids and food. The drive up to the summit is a sketchy one. In fact, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is required to get to the top. It’s a very steep and windy road. The landscape is not your typical landscape for Hawaii.
Once they reached 12,000 ft. it all of a sudden felt like they were on Mars. There is no vegetation, just deep orange, and red rock. Once you reach the top, it feels otherworldly. Surrounded by a barren landscape and about a dozen massive NASA telescopes, it feels like something out of a sci-fi movie.
For the first 20 minutes, they did their best to acclimate to the extreme elevation change. The dizziness and weak feeling in your entire body sets in immediately after you get of your vehicle. They walked slow, took deep breaths, and made no sudden movements! Ha. (quick movements make you feel faint). Bryce and Mariah wouldn’t exactly consider themselves crazy adventurous people. But they were committed to capturing their elopement in an unforgettable location. With the clouds thousands of feet below us, the sun setting, creating intense colors on the earth surrounding us, it felt like a beautiful dream.
To them, the journey was worth it. The physical tole was worth it. And for us, it’s an elopement we will never forget.
How did you meet?
We met in college and had overlapping friend groups but didn’t interact much.A year after graduation I asked a mutual fried to bring my name up to Bryce and see if he remembered me. That turned out to not be necessary as he actually dm’d me on Instagram a day later, unaware of my secret plan. We’ve been inseparable ever since.
What is your proposal story?
Our proposal was very intimate and low key. It was the day before my birthday and Bryce had just returned from a business trip in Asia. Per our nightly summer ritual, we were sitting on our balcony, winding down for the day. Bryce starts talking about our plans to get engaged and pulls out a family ring that he wore daily and had gotten polished and resized for me. Of course I said yes, and we happily announced our engagement to our friends and family the following day.
Tell us a little a bit about your wedding.
We both knew we wanted to have a destination wedding with just our family. Hawaii was a great choice because Bryce’s family goes to Oahu every year for vacation and my family had never been. We wanted something a little different from the typical light sand, Hawaiian beach wedding, which is where the Big Island came into play. The landscapes there definitely had an otherworldly feel to them. I wanted nature to play the main part of our special day.
Tell us about your attire choices.
Bryce and I both have design backgrounds so we wanted to look really editorial for our wedding. We chose coordinating Gucci shoes and kept Bryce’s suit light to contrast with the darker black sand beach we chose for our location. I got my dress second hand from a great shop called Adorned in Grace, where the proceeds are used to fight human trafficking.
What was the most important to the two of you while planning? Was there anything that you chose to splurge on or skip?
We wanted to make sure we hired a really great photographer who would be able to capture our vision of a moody tropical wedding. We also wanted to make sure that we had a great time with our families and to not stress too much the day of.
What were your favorite parts of the day?
Favorite parts of the day include spending time with our families in the airbnb before the ceremony. Since we kept things simple, the day of was relatively stress free and we could just focus on enjoying our time together. On the day of our adventure photoshoot, I’ll never forget driving up to the top of the mountain and feeling like we were on another planet.
Tell us about your wedding flowers.
I wanted to stick with a dark green and white color scheme. I chose a floral ring to lay on the ground instead of an arch to not cover up any of the background scenery.
Tell us about your wedding cake.
Our wedding cake was made by the lovely bakers at Brown’s Beach house.
What did you do for favors?
Bryce’s mom made ribbon leis
Please describe any DIY, handmade, or personal details.
Bryce’s mom made beautiful ribbon leis for each of our family members and draped them on the backs of the chairs at our dinner reception.
Did you include any family heirlooms or special traditions?
The morning of, my mom gave me my grandmother’s ring, who had passed away the previous year.
Do you have any advice for couples planning their weddings now?
I highly recommend eloping! You can go anywhere you want and really focus on having an intimate day with your partner.
The views! Enough said. The views at the top of Mauna Kea took our breath away (figuratively and literally). Taking photos on what felt like the surface of Mars is an unforgettable experience that we’ll carry with us for the rest of our lives. My advice to other couples would be to have someone with you (in our case our photographer, Jamie) who has the same vision as you do and the know how to make it happen.
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